Spotting the Primacy of Resistance in the Virtual Encounter of Foucault and Deleuze


  • Marco Checchi University of Leicester



Resistance, active forces, power relations, Deleuze, labour, Tronti


Foucault’s intuition that resistance comes first challenges the theses of the co-originality of power and resistance or the superiority of power over resistance.  In order to transform this intuition into the concept of the primacy of resistance, the article uses Deleuze’s ontology and in particular the idea of the virtual.  According to Deleuze, resistance displays a privileged relation with the virtual, understood as the ontological region animated by all the potentialities that might be or might have been actualised.  As such, resistance is presented as a creative and affirmative force, provoking reactions and forcing power to change.  Nietzsche’s divide between active and reactive forces serves to set up a qualitative distinction between resistance and power.  Power relations are therefore understood as the interplay of the creative affirmation of resistance and the subsequent reaction of power.  The primacy of resistance allows us to elaborate a dynamic model of power relations whose mechanism evokes Tronti’s interpretation of Marxism structured upon the primacy of labour and workers’ struggle over capital.

Author Biography

Marco Checchi, University of Leicester

Marco Checchi is a PhD candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant at the School of Management of the University of Leicester. His research areas turn around political philosophy and its application in the fields of critical management studies and organization studies. Marco’s current research interest mainly focuses on the concept of the primacy of resistance and the conceptual lines that have historically contributed to its emergence. The article presented in this issue analyses the primacy of resistance as a virtual encounter between Foucault and Deleuze, conceptually supported by Tronti’s primacy of the workers’ struggle over capital.




How to Cite

Checchi, M. (2014). Spotting the Primacy of Resistance in the Virtual Encounter of Foucault and Deleuze. Foucault Studies, (18), 197–212.



Section in collaboration with Foucault Circle